How to balance taking a course with your job

There are many reasons why taking a professional course can bring huge benefits to your career:

Learning throughout your career can put you in an excellent position to fill skills gaps in the marketplace. A recent study by Prospects Luminate reported that 25% of roles surveyed were described by employers as ‘hard to fill due to skills shortages’, so adding to your qualifications can put you at an immediate advantage. What’s more, you don’t have to go back to full-time education to do it. Take a look at our part-time courses here.
Taking supplementary courses can also keep you up-to-date with advances in your industry and ensure you can outrun competition from recent graduates, as well as motivate you to take a renewed interest in your work.
Trying something new can also expand your horizons in other ways – you could be inspired to change your career altogether.

That’s all very well, but if you have a full time job and personal commitments, just how do you fit studying alongside it all? Find out below.

Look after yourself

The healthier your mind and body, the more able you will be to keep up with the demands of working and studying. Eat healthily, get plenty of sleep and exercise and remember to take regular breaks when you’re working – whether on your job or your course. Leaving your work environment to grab some lunch, hit the gym or go for a walk can do wonders to lower your stress levels, increase your focus and allow your creativity to replenish.

Staying motivated

Remember your end goal and use it to drive you, whether it is a change of career, getting a promotion or simply feeling confident in your role.

Plan ahead

Trying to do too much at once is a sure way to get yourself into trouble when balancing your job and your studies. Instead, break your responsibilities into smaller, manageable chunks.

Find out what your deadlines are, such as exams or work to be submitted so they won’t come as a surprise.
Use a simple system such as a wall planner, online calendar or a pocket diary.
Mark down the time you need to spend on the commitments you already have – the hours you spend at work, your commute time, family commitments and other important priorities and dates.
Work out how many hours a week you need to spend studying – break them down into smaller chunks scattered throughout your days and weeks. For example, if you have a spare 30-minutes each morning to revise, schedule it in. If you’ve got three-hours to spare on a Wednesday evening, commit that time to studying too. Maybe you could study during your commute? Or while the kids are at swimming lessons? These smaller, manageable chunks of study time will soon add up.

Commit to your study time

It can be tempting to forego a study session so you can go to impromptu after work drinks or a family barbecue. But your study hours should be just as non-negotiable as the hours between 9 and 6 that you have to spend at your job. If your family and friends are supportive of what you’re trying to achieve, they’ll understand. Just remember to schedule in some time for socialising, too.